I have read two of Stephen Pressfield’s books now and I have really enjoyed both of them. “Turning Pro” is a fantastic book, full of short and to the point chapters. Not even chapters, really. More like ideas. I found it even more compelling that “Do the Work”.
The central idea is that there are two types of people: amateurs and pros. The difference between the two isn’t what you might think it is.
Amateurs don’t pursue the things they want. They say they will, as soon as they can get free from their distractions. They then proceed to create as many distractions as possible. They live in a tortured mindset of always wanting something and not being able to get themselves to get there. Bhuddists might say that they are unenlightened, or spend most of their time not on “the Path”. We all know these people. In fact, we all were/are one. In short, they are phoning it in.
Professionals know what they want, know what it takes to get what they want, and suit up, show up and do the work. This does not mean that they are always happy, or pursuing their passion, or can make things happen that are impossible, or “think and grow rich.
I really struggle to explain the difference between the amateur and the professional. Pressfield wrote in such an emotionally vivid way, that it seems as if he never really explains the difference. He just tells stories, mostly about himself, until you grok the idea. I can’t figure out how to explain that. It really is an experience you have to just have.
Professionals don’t have all the answers and are not necessarily living a dream. But they find a sort of “zen” center in knowing they are pursuing something they enjoy and are good at, and they take comfort in knowing they are making progress towards something.
It is tough to describe in just a few short sentences, but the best example from the book is the Marine and his two salaries. His financial salary might be low, but he also has a psychological salary. The comfort and feeling of knowing that he belongs to something, that his calling has honor, and that no one can take that away.
If you feel like you aren’t living up to your potential, or that you could do even more, I encourage you to check out this book. It will definitely be worth your time.